I sat at the computer to write this not long after I turned off the TV, unable to watch any more of the hateful chaos filling my screen. My head was already occupied by one big question: How did we ever come to this? But of course, I already knew…
By choice and personal history, I’m not political. I keep such matters to myself. But that doesn’t mean I’d been deaf, dumb and blind to the state of our country in these few days before a new, properly elected candidate was to take the oath of presidency. Nobody has needed a crystal ball, nothing more than garden-variety decent vision, to recognize the inevitable. I say this with a heavy heart because I see it as true: This “inevitable” resulted from our “leadership.” And both the preceding quote-enclosed words should be read with no quotes necessary.
You may or may not know that I love watches. I collect them, and wear my timepieces — one around my left wrist every day, and a special one on a chain around my neck on very special days. During the last few weeks, I “invested” $6.99 (plus postage and handling) to add a Trump-themed watch to my collection.
This is not something I will ever wear. I will leave it in its Bubble Wrap envelope until such time as my first two great-grandsons (and other great-grands yet to be born) will want to know more about last night: what it was — how it came to be — and why, if indeed, it might have been truly necessary. The answer to their questions lies in the phrase permanently written on the face of that watch, the simple message reading “Make America Great Again.”
At that time, whenever it comes, I will try to explain that most Americans, and most of the world, knew long before last night that America was already great, and had been for many years. Yes, it had elements of non-greatness; unequal treatment of minorities (and, yes, we Jews have long been part of that well-mixed grouping) is a dark part of our country that we were finally coming to fully recognize, and seemed to be making real attempts to do something about.
My younger great-grandson attends a standard American public school; the older one is being home-schooled by his father. I don’t know yet, and neither can anyone else, how last night’s vicious attack on our seat of government, fueled by misuse of our most meaningful symbol — the Stars and Stripes making up our national banner — will resonate with these young boys when they start asking questions about it, if they haven’t already begun to do so. But my Trump watch is being preserved to serve as part of an answer to their questions. They will learn from it how dangerous having self-serving leadership can be, and I would hope that by the time they can ask, they can recognize — or be old enough to understand when it’s explained to them — what the word “leadership” really means, so that they will grow to be among those who elect it and follow it, not become parts of false leadership that can prevent, instead of enhance, the growth of greatness in our precious country.
Our nation has had tough times in its past and overcome them all. This too shall pass, as we of America’s oldest, and below us the current generations, age upward and pass on ourselves. We must work with whatever time we have left to pass on the time-honored values of our great nation. I’m hoping my Trump watch will help.
Harriet Gross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.